My Scientology Movie (2016) Movie Review: Does Scientology have a “fanbase”?

By: Bill Leon (Two Beers) –

I’ve seen a large portion of documentaries on Scientology. Throughout 2011 and 2012, I was fascinated by it and researched it constantly. My Scientology Movie is a 2016 documentary film about journalist Louis Theroux staging reenactments of real life behind-the-scenes drama amongst the higher-ups in the organization. Namely the alleged volatile tirades of leader David Miscavige. The reenactments are based on the accounts of ex-members, namely Mark “Marty” Rathbun, who appears in most Scientology docs. He’s a good source of information and if you’ve been following for awhile, you surely know who he is. As Louis and Marty slowly begin to clash a bit, the focus shifts to Marty.

TRUBBARD[1]

Unrelated photo I found on Google.

A Toast

This film is a bit of a mixed bag but tackles things I’ve seen in the past from different angles. The Act of Killing-style re-enactments of David Miscavige and the hole are compelling and intriguing. Louis Theroux is a good presenter and has many funny/awkward moments throughout. His relationship/dynamic with Marty throughout the film runs the gamut of emotions and Marty of course steals the show at times.

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There’s a lot in this movie and its a little all over place but that’s the nature of the beast. Aside from the re-enactments, we get investigating the Gold Base, interviews with ex-Scientologists, and figuring out whether or not a specific road is public property. It seems like the production was a bit chaotic- the film documents how the Church of Scientology sends people to film them and they receive multiple letters from the organization’s lawyers. By the end of the film, the stuff with Marty has really overshadowed a lot preceding it.

I had joked that you could retitle this “My Time with Marty Rathbun” or something to that effect. Marty Rathbun displays visual discomfort and frustration on multiple occasions throughout the shooting. After being ambushed and harassed by members of the church twice, he kind of loses it at one point and lashes out at Theroux. The film ends shortly after so maybe this was all just the journey of Marty’s breakdown.

video-marty-rathbun-making-friends[1]

Unrelated photo I found on Google.

Verdict

My Scientology Movie could make a good companion piece to Going Clear. It’s not quite the powerhouse that movie was, but is definitely still worth your time if you’re a fan of Scientology… wait does Scientology have a “fanbase”?

2beers

My Scientology Movie (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: when someone stalks or films the filmmakers

Take a Drink: if you recognize anyone from past Scientology documentaries

Take a Drink: for Tom Cruise

Do a Shot: if it was a public road.

About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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